Hamels Sends Phillies to NLCS

If the Phillies are trying to avoid having the most irrelevant bullpen in post-season history, they’re not doing a great job of it. The bullpen tossed a sum total of four innings in the three NLDS games against the Cincinnati Reds as Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels each tossed complete game shut-outs, dominating the National League’s highest-ranked offense in a series sweep.

Tonight, Hamels played the part of surgeon, masterfully dissecting the Reds’ tough lineup. Reds base runners reached second base just twice all night, and never had a runner reach third base safely. Hamels’ game score of 86 ties a post-season career high, matching his outing in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers. However, he notched his first career playoff CG SHO tonight in the series clincher — the first time the Phillies have ever brought out the brooms in a post-season series.

The offense did not have to do any heavy lifting for Hamels, scoring merely two runs against Johnny Cueto in his five innings of labor. In the first inning, the Phillies capitalized on yet another defensive miscue by a Reds defender, a throwing error by Orlando Cabrera. Chase Utley tacked on another run with a solo home run in the fifth inning. The Cincinnati bullpen held the Phillies in check for four innings, allowing only two hits and striking out four, in their effort to keep the game manageable.

Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce were the lone Reds that appeared to have brought their bats to the playoffs, finishing the series with an OPS of 1.000 and 1.025, respectively. Likely NL MVP award winner Joey Votto was held to one hit in his ten at-bats. The meat of the Reds’ lineup, the 3-4-5 hitters, went 1-for-11 with five strikeouts. The 11 total hits the Phillies allowed in the three-game set is the lowest in Division Series history for any three-game series.

Many statistics will illustrate how dominant Hamels was tonight, but perhaps none will do so as vividly as this: of the 33 change-ups he threw against the Reds, he induced 12 whiffs (36 percent). Overall, he had a total of 17 whiffs — exactly as many as Halladay induced in Game One with his no-hitter.

Going into the NLDS, the starting rotation was viewed as the Phillies’ biggest strength. And despite a lackluster effort from Roy Oswalt, that was exactly the case.

As the Phillies wait for their NLCS opponent to emerge, the starting rotation will have nearly a week off and the lightly-used bullpen will be plenty fresh. This is about as advantageous a position as a team can be in during the post-season. The Phillies now need just four wins to advance to the World Series. Should they do so, they would be the first National League team to reach the World Series in three consecutive years since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals.

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20 comments

  1. e

    October 10, 2010 11:03 PM

    ” joey votto could keep his meaningless stats, Howard knows how to produce in the playoffs.”- Educated Phillies fan.

  2. micah

    October 10, 2010 11:17 PM

    Am I the only one who was absolutely thrilled that Scott Rolen Fanned to end the series?

    You rarely get to see that kind of poetic justice, but watching that classless bum strike out, and knowing that he knows that he could be the face of a dynasty… it made my night.

  3. e

    October 10, 2010 11:22 PM

    rolen probably is going to the HOF. I doubt he cares too, too much.

  4. micah

    October 10, 2010 11:24 PM

    HOF for rolen? i doubt it. of course, once they let gary carter in, its hard to make an argument to keep anyone out, really. so maybe youre right.

  5. Bill Baer

    October 10, 2010 11:25 PM

    I never had a problem with Scott Rolen. We’ll never know for sure, but it seems like he was right in his complaints about the organization’s commitment to winning at the time.

    Sure, he could have shut his mouth, but I will never fault a player for looking after number one.

  6. micah

    October 10, 2010 11:36 PM

    I don’t fault a player for looking out for number one either. I liked Aaron Rowand, and was disappointed he left, but completely understood why he left.

    Rolen is a different story. He left town with 2 middle fingers extended to the city and the fans. Not for money, but simply because he thought he was too good for us.

    And the truth is, he wasn’t.

  7. Scott G

    October 11, 2010 12:07 AM

    E,

    Are you joking with that Votto/Howard quote?

    Howard went .273/.385/.273. OPS of .658. Nothing to be too proud of. Votto is almost definitely better than Howard. He definitely was better than Howard in 2010. It wasn’t even close. Surely you won’t let a 3 game set against 3 of the best pitchers in baseball decide things for you?

  8. kmart

    October 11, 2010 12:48 AM

    I still like Scott Rolen… we weren’t trying to win at the time he wanted out. However, it did make me smile to see him strike out to end the series.

    What I like most about that Hamels gif is the fact that his 119th pitch was a 95 Mph fastball. Awesome.

  9. micah

    October 11, 2010 01:11 AM

    what do you mean “we weren’t trying to win at the time he wanted out” ??

    Do you think that jimmy rollins and chase utley and cole hamels and pat burrell simply materialized out of the either just in time for 2008? The phillies were developing a core of young talented players in the late 90s / early 00s, and scott rolen basically demanded that the team trade those players away and acquire free agents to make the team “win now”

    Do you really wish that the phillies couldve traded away j roll and chase utley in order to get ken caminiti and make rolen happy?

    The guy is a bum, and i’m glad that he struck out to end the series.

  10. micah

    October 11, 2010 01:17 AM

    also, I can’t really forgive the way that he told the world that he wouldn’t re-sign with the phillies under any circumstances, thus driving down his trade value.

    And remember, all of this happened after we had broken ground on a billion dollar stadium that was built because scott preferred grass to turf.

  11. KR

    October 11, 2010 10:14 AM

    I think we need to be nicer to Scott Rolen since he was clearly working for our side this entire series.

  12. kmart

    October 11, 2010 10:25 AM

    Thanks for making my point micah. We were waiting for Utley and crew to develop. We weren’t going to trade away a bright future for immediate success.

  13. Ted

    October 11, 2010 11:02 AM

    rofl KR

    Rolen did look horrible throughout the series. He was probably playing hurt. Also it didn’t help he was up against some of the best pitchers in baseball.

  14. micah

    October 11, 2010 11:05 AM

    Yes Kmart, but thats what Rolen demanded. He wanted a clause in any contract with the phillies that said if the phils were not in the top 10% of league payrolls, his contract would be voided and he would become a free agent.

    How anyone can take his side in that kind of dispute is beyond me.

  15. JB Allen

    October 11, 2010 05:21 PM

    Rolen feuded with a terrible manager – Larry Bowa – and Dallas Green, the man who did more harm to the Phillies than anyone in the past forty years. If I’m pressed to take sides, I’ll go with the side that doesn’t include those two cancers.

  16. kmart

    October 11, 2010 08:28 PM

    Micah- in the end it worked out for both teams. The Phillies ended up with Polanco and the Phils revival started soon after Rolen left. Rolen went to St. Louis and won a championship. I’m not going to hold a grudge on a guy who wanted to win after spending five years on some atrocious teams.

  17. win

    October 11, 2010 08:52 PM

    Interesting fact, Hamels was part of what Rolen claimed was the Phillies not trying hard enough to win. Hamels was drafted on June 4th and Rolen finally got traded on July 29th.

  18. micah

    October 11, 2010 09:00 PM

    @kmart

    if by “rolen went to st. louis and won a championship” you mean “rolen went to st. louis, injured himself, and watched the team win a championship from the sidelines” then you would be absolutely correct.

  19. DE

    October 12, 2010 01:13 AM

    ” joey votto could keep his meaningless stats, Howard knows how to produce in the playoffs.”- Educated Phillies fan.

    ^ meaningless stats? *facepalm*

  20. Rick

    October 16, 2010 06:27 PM

    Who cares about rolen. Howard is the man and the Phills are going all the way ->
    snipurl.com/1b8gdb

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